Lepidium sativum, commonly called Persian Cress or Ornamental Cress is a trendy filler green among floral artists. This easy to grow filler foliage grows upright, sturdy branches decorated with tiny, silvery seed pods by the thousands. A must grow for late season mixed bouquets and wreaths, it can be used either fresh or dried.
Cress is a hardy annual, and can be successfully grown outdoors. The flower stems of cress are durable and age well, turning golden at the end of the season. This plant prefers full sun, well drained soil and grows in excess of 90cm (36in).
Although typically grown for cut flower production, this plant is a welcome addition of textural interest to add a pop of green as a backdrop to garden beds.
Persian cress grows faster than the wrinkled version which is also used as a cut flower greens filler. The leaves are edible and have a mild, peppery flavour that pairs well in salads.
Sowing: Seeds can be sown all year round.
Cress is a hardy annual, and can be successfully grown outdoors. Direct sow the seed as soon as the ground can be worked. Sow directly into a shallow rill in the vegetable patch or raised bed.
Lightly cover the cress seeds with soil and water well. If you thin the seedlings out when they reach an inch tall it will reduce competition for nutrients and light, producing stronger results. Be sure to water your maturing plants regularly to prevent them from bolting in warm weather.
Staggering plantings every two weeks for an extended harvest and harvest your cress leaves regularly as they mature.
The plants grow to a height of around 100 to 110cm (36 to 40in) and can become top heavy so you may need to corral or use horizontal netting quite high up for support. Once harvested, the stems will stand up better.
Aim for a plant spacing of 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in). Maturity: 50 to 60 days.
Cut or Dried Flower:
Persian Cress can be used either fresh or dried. Harvest when most of the flowers have formed seedpods, if harvested too early they will wilt. To dry, hang upside down in a warm, dry place until firm.
Cress will easily self-seed if flowers are allowed to mature. The cress family develops small, curved seedpods that form from the tiny flowers. The seedpods shatter easily and can be difficult to find and harvest due to their size, which is what makes them so excellent at self-seeding. Start looking for them after the flowers disappear and harvest seed pods by gently rolling them in your fingers.
Soon after blooming, the flowers will begin to fade and the seed pods will develop. Wait until most of the pods ripen to a light brown before picking the whole cluster of pods. Since the pods will split open and drop their seeds when fully ripe, watch them carefully. Spread the heads out in a protected location away from direct sunlight to dry fully, then thresh out the seed. Store in a cool, dry place> Stored correctly, the seeds will be viable for at least 2 to 3 years.
Lepidium sativum, Cress is native to the Middle East. It was being grown in Persia as early as 400 BC.
Garden Cress has the same pungent nip as Watercress does, with medium to dark green leaves. Garden Cress is easier to grow as it can be grown in soil and doesn't require the constant flow of water that Watercress does.
Garden Cress is a member of Brassicaceae, the cabbage family while Watercress, Nasturtium officinale is a member of the nasturtium family
The genus name, Lepidium: from the Greek lepidion, meaning ‘a little scale’, in reference to the shape of the fruit pods
The species name sativum (along with sativa and sativus) is derived from the Latin satum and means ‘that which is sown’ indicating the plant is a cultivated one, grown especially for eating. The English word 'season' derives also from satum, as 'appropriate time for sowing', through the old French 'saison'.
The English term ‘cress’, is from the Old English caerse and is akin to similar names throughout Europe such as cresson in French and crescione in Italian. These names may be derived from a common source. Latvian griezīgs meaning ‘sharp’, or from the Indo-European root gres ‘devour’, Old Norse kras ‘delicacy’, Sanskrit grasati ‘he eats’ and Greek gran ‘gnaw’.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 500mg Average Seed Count 270 Seeds Seeds per gram 550 seeds per gram Common Name Ornamental Cress Family Brassicaceae Genus Lepidium Species sativum Synonym Lepidium ruderale or Lepidium setatum Hardiness Hardy Annual Height 90 to 100cm (38 to 40in) Spacing 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in). Position Full sun preferred Time to Sow Indoors, all year round. Germination Staggering plantings every two weeks for an extended harvest. Harvest When most of the flowers have formed seedpods Time to Harvest Maturity: 50 to 60 days.